18 Months In And MGM National Harbor Already Needed An Expansion

Written By Bart Shirley on July 20, 2018 - Last Updated on November 25, 2021
MGM National Harbor casino

MGM National Harbor opened a second level in its casino. The new space, which opened on July 16, cost the company $48 million to renovate into its desired shape.

The new area increases the property’s gaming space by 38,000 square feet. Several new features are now available to patrons at the casino, including an expanded poker room.

In fact, moving poker operations upstairs was the major focus of the renovation. According to company management, demand at the property for table games has wildly exceeded expectations.

“We had a rough second floor that was not being utilized, and the intent was that if we saw the demand from our customers, we would have the ability to expand to that second floor,” said President and COO Melonie Johnson, speaking to the Washington Business Journal.

The new poker room increases the number of available tables to 46. Also, the new room features two tables expressly built for high-limit play.

The property will now use the former poker room space to increase its number of table games and real money slots. Other features in the expansion include:

  • 285 new video lottery terminals
  • A 700-square-foot terrace that overlooks the National Harbor and the Potomac
  • The Race Book, a 24-screen off-track parlor for betting on horse races
  • Snacks, a fast-casual restaurant that serves pizza, Asian food, buffalo wings, and other favorites

MGM National Harbor has been wildly successful in a short time

This expansion is somewhat surprising, considering that its parent property opened for business a mere 18 months ago. However, the demand at the Baltimore-area casino has been quite high.

In fact, the property is the highest-grossing property in the state. Year-to-date, the property has earned revenue in excess of $343 million on its video lottery terminals and table games.

That figure exceeds its nearest competitor, Live! Casino & Hotel, by almost $60 million. In terms of revenue, MGM National Harbor owns nearly 40% of market share in Maryland.

Its June 2018 revenue was just under $60 million. That figure was 18% higher than the same time period in 2017.

So, it’s not hard to understand that the casino needs more space.

Maryland is fairly new to the casino game

MGM National Harbor is the newest of Maryland’s six casinos. It is the second-largest facility after Live! in terms of machines and table games.

The first casino to open in Maryland was Hollywood Casino Perryville. That property opened its doors in September 2010.

Since then, it and its five competitors have created an industry with yearly revenues exceeding $1.6 billion. Last year, as part of those revenues, MGM National Harbor injected over $170 million into Maryland’s Education Trust Fund.

Armed with this new space, that number is set to be much higher.

Photo by Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

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Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is a senior evergreen content writer for PlayUSA. He’s been writing and reporting on the gambling industry since 2013. Prior to working for PlayUSA, Shirley was a feature writer for QuadJacks, a site covering issues in poker. He also writes for BonusCodePoker, a poker satire site that lampoons the lighter side of card games. Shirley is a graduate of the MBA program at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business and has a degree in English from Texas A&M University. He grew up in Houston, TX, and lives in Katy, just west of Houston. Shirley is also a former high school teacher. He is married, has one daughter, and practices Brazilian jiu jitsu in his spare time.

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